SEA Change
AAAS STEM Equity Achievement

SEA Change

Guiding Principles


Participating in the SEA Change self-assessment process is a commitment to the SEA Change Principles:

STEM Equity Achievement (SEA) Change supports sustainable systemic and structural institutional transformation, especially in colleges and universities, enabling success in high quality higher education and research missions by ensuring that the full range of individual student and faculty talent can be recruited, retained, and advanced in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEM). Such inclusion (full and equitable participation by all talent) and the diversity it creates are critical for excellence in STEM education and research. Inclusion, and its valuable impacts, are measured by experience of students and faculty, as well as by numbers.

By joining SEA Change, you commit to ensuring equity and full participation of each individual across sex, race, ethnicity, disability status, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, familial history of higher education, or any other factor that research has indicated as being associated with bias and inequitable treatment. Bias, marginalization and exclusion have prevented the full engagement of a broad diversity of individuals that is needed to maximize creativity and quality, as well as to fully engage the promise of available talent, in STEM education and careers.

We acknowledge that:

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  • We aspire to shift institutional culture and climate, ensuring that regardless of demographic and identity characteristics unrelated to ability (and performance) in STEM, individuals are respected and enabled to be productive and to contribute to the advancement and application of knowledge.
  • We commit to embracing equity, diversity, and inclusion as central elements of excellence in business, academia, and industry; we recognize that high performance includes ability and conduct to include all individuals of talent, which enhances quality of learning and work by all and supports STEM excellence.
  • We believe that colleges and universities cannot reach their full potential to contribute to all students and society unless they can include, engage, and benefit from the talents of a broad diversity of students, faculty, and others in their communities.
  • We believe that the role of higher education systems is to serve all; we aspire to provide a culture of learning and respect, overcoming stereotypes and addressing biases.
  • We commit to addressing the current inequities affecting [1] different populations and groups across STEM disciplines, particularly barriers that result in the absence or near-absence of diversity within student bodies and senior academic and professional roles, as well as in business and industry.
  • We recognize the long-term commitment and important contributions of educational institutions whose historical missions are to serve specific populations of students excluded from academic opportunities available to others.
[1] Note: The clause “inequities affecting some populations” is used across the principles to denote that often, even if certain groups are well-represented, they are still not being equitably served or fully included due to bias, stereotype, and marginalization.


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  • We aspire to remove the additional systemic and structural barriers and obstacles that compound the usual challenges in higher education facing everyone and are statistically more likely to be faced by individuals from groups that are affected by inequity at major points of educational, professional and career development and progression.
  • We believe that advancing equity requires dedication and action from all levels of the organization, including supportive central and local governance and accountability structures and active leadership from those in senior roles; as leaders, we commit ourselves, and we commit to take action to inspire and foster commitment of others across the institution, accordingly.
  • We commit to identifying and addressing both explicit and implicit biases that lead to inequity across our institution, and we understand that such bias is a barrier to enhancing excellence
  • We aspire to develop solutions to inequity that build organizational governance and accountability structure and systems at the central and local level, including metrics, standards, policies, processes, and roles and responsibilities transcending individuals employed at a particular time, and that involve collaboration of those who are targets of inequity and those who are not, knowing that the burden of change should not rest on individuals experiencing barriers that stem from those inequities. 
  • We commit to using these structures and systems to support better design, evaluation, and continuous improvement of transactional strategies (individual programs and projects), as well as related resource allocation, aimed at enhancing diversity and inclusion to make them more effective and sustainable.
  • We acknowledge that all individuals have multiple personal identities, and we commit to considering the intersection of those identities whenever possible.
  • We also acknowledge that every individual experiences identity differently and is unique; membership in a group does not mean acceptance of the idea of homogeneity within that group. The heterogeneous nature of groups reinforces the need to build structures that affirm the support of person-centered policies and reject society’s stereotyping and structural inequity.